Side hustles. Most of us entertain the idea of them at some point. Whether you’re happy and fulfilled in your day job or spend your days counting down the minutes, the concept of doing what you love for a career is an alluring one.
However, it’s easier said than done.
As much as the well-worn “find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” phrase sounds wonderful, nothing could be further from the truth.
Turning your hobby into a side hustle (and then possibly a fully-fledged career…) is, more often than not, going to involve more work than you have ever done in your life. Will it be worth it? Well, that depends entirely on you.
Here’s some advice from Catherine Douglas, Business Banking Director at TSB on what to expect, the right steps to take, and the common mistakes you should avoid.
Recognise where your talents are, not just your passions
Dreams are all well and good, but you need to be able to put them into action or that’s all they’ll ever be. Is your ambition to pursue a long-term hobby as a day job? Or is it something you’ve always had an interest in, but never explored? Either way, you need to be sure you have the necessary skills to make a living from it. If you don’t, now’s the time to start getting them.
Ensure there’s a demand
You might have a burning desire to start a business that ticks every box for you, but just how many people out there share your passion? It doesn’t have to be massively popular, but there has to be a demand, otherwise your dreams are going to crash and burn before they’ve even taken off.
Similarly, there’s no point coming into a crowded marketplace with something that’s already there, only more established than you are. What’s different about your business? Why should customers come to you over your competitors? Saying that, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If your major USP is offering something better than the rest, that’ll do just as well.
Make a plan
There’s no better way to ensure the downfall of a company than failure to plan ahead. How are you going to get up and running? How will you get yourself out there? And how will you survive and hopefully thrive once you’re there? Plans will always change, but starting without one doesn’t bear thinking about.
Be ready for a long road ahead
Chances are, no matter how great your idea is, it’s probably going to take a while to make a success of things. New businesses always do, but if you’re starting while still working a day job, there are only so many hours in the day you can devote to it. Be patient.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
Yes, it’s your baby and nobody will ever quite get it the way you do, but do you need to be hands on 100% of the time? In fact, even if you had the time, chances are you won’t be the best person for every job. Maybe it’s a one-off job, a regular gig you need a trusted freelancer to take on, or even something that means taking on a new employee. Whatever it is, know your limits and acknowledge when it’s time to delegate.
Be open to feedback
Chances are you’re going to make some mistakes on this journey. The important thing is learn from them. The negatives allow you to improve and do better the next time. The important thing is to be ready to accept feedback in all forms and to take constructive criticism on board.
Don’t get fired from the day job
Finally and perhaps, most importantly, it’s imperative that unless you are ready to for that side hustle to be your full-time gig, you can’t let it interfere with the thing that pays the bills. As long as you’re working for another company, continue to give them your best. Stressful as it may be, juggling the two is a great lesson in time management.